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Indybay Feature
Thu May 28 2015 (Updated 05/29/15)
Demonstrators Arrested in Support of City Workers at Santa Cruz Council Meeting
Forty-Six Percent of City Workers in Santa Cruz are Unable to Live Within City Limits
After seven years of stagnant wages, city workers who have been economically shut out of Santa Cruz marched from the Town Clock to City Hall on May 26 to hand-deliver a letter from the community to the City Council, demanding a response to the need for a living wage, affordable housing and community investment for all. Seven demonstrators were arrested after they stood before the podium and locked arms, and then refused to leave Council Chambers.

The workers are members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521. The union has stated that 46% of city workers are unable to live within city limits due to high housing costs and wage cuts workers have agreed to since 2009 to deal with the recession. They are also fighting for pay equity, stating that in Santa Cruz, 35% of female workers, on average, make $1.29 less than their male co-workers.

SEIU 521 writes: With signs that Santa Cruz has recovered from the recession, such as a balanced city budget and bonuses paid to its city leaders, city workers remain behind. The city pays an average of only $34,000 per year—about half of the median income for Santa Cruz County—to its workers such as landscapers, sanitation drivers, administrative personnel, library workers and parking attendants. These workers qualify for housing subsidies to afford rent in Santa Cruz. Similar to fast-food workers and their fight for economic justice, Santa Cruz’s low-wage city workers are dedicated to uplifting the community by fighting for living wages, affordable housing and community re-investment to benefit all.

imc_photo.gif Read More with Photos | video Video | SEIU 521
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